On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to legalize recreational cannabis in New York State.
As of now, recreational cannabis smoking is now lawfully treated with the same approach as cigarettes. Law enforcement agencies have received new instructions on how to respond to cannabis use and for the cannabis community. It’s a breath of fresh air. Here are the details.
Medical cannabis was legalized in New York State before Wednesday. This new law will expand the state’s current program and allow the creation of adult and cannabinoid hemp programs.
It will take a year or two to implement and then retail sales will begin. Governor Cuomo’s administration has estimated that legalizing recreational cannabis could ultimately increase government revenues by $ 300 million a year. In addition, the creation of these new industries can create up to 60,000 jobs nationwide.
Smoking weed in public
New York State may not be the first to legalize recreational cannabis, but they do things a little differently. One change in the law is the new permission to smoke cannabis in public.
If you are legally allowed to smoke a cigarette, you can basically smoke a joint. Smoking is currently banned in parks and beaches and this will not change. But if you’re walking down Canal St. and feel the urge to burn you down, leave the cops alone.
Once the new laws went into effect, the NYPD released a four-page memo setting out its new instructions on how to respond to cannabis use.
The memo states: “Smoking marijuana is no longer a basis for an approach, a stop, a subpoena, an arrest or a search. New Yorkers who smoke marijuana on sidewalks or in front of their homes are protected by law. ”
There have been several other immediate legislative changes, most of which affect enforcement protocols. The NYPD is instructed to change its response to local sales.
- The smell of cannabis is no longer a likely reason to search for a vehicle. Unless the driver is physically impaired, smell alone does not warrant a search
- There is a personal ownership limit of 3 ounces
- In the absence of payment or compensation, an exchange of cannabis is not considered a sale. Basically, sharing is important, but buying is human trafficking
- Immediately delete all criminal records for cannabis possession, including previous convictions
- Cannabis-related offenses are no longer a criminal offense
New York State was a well-known battlefield during the War on Drugs as tough laws tore communities apart. In a statement following the signing of this law, Governor Cuomo explained the reasons for these groundbreaking changes.
“For too long, the cannabis ban has been disproportionately aimed at color communities with harsh prison sentences. After years of hard work, this landmark piece of legislation offers justice to long-marginalized communities, embraces a new industry that is growing the economy, and creates significant safeguards for the public. New York has a long history as the nation’s progressive capital, and this important piece of legislation will continue that legacy again. “